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Thread: AEV 2" spacer lift install (and lots of advice)

  1. #1
    Been Around the Block scoobycarolanNC's Avatar
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    Post AEV 2" spacer lift install (and lots of advice)

    Been meaning to write this up so it gets saved for someone else and I keep chiming in on other threads. It's been a month since I installed the AEV 2' spacer lift (budget boost) on my 2018 Sahara and I've wheeled it and took a road trip across North Carolina so its time. This'll be geared towards rookies like me (although I did a swap on my JK too). I tried to think of everything so its a very long thread, but I really hope that all my suffering and learning will help someone like me who's challenged themself to do this (mostly) alone.

    First of all I was impressed with the quality of all the components & hardware. Everything was packaged nicely and the nuts & bolts box even had a backlist so I knew I had everything I need. I can't stress enough that printing all the instructions was crucial! Trying to read a PDF on my iPad would have sucked. I did that with my JK and it was a nightmare. One of the things I did to get ready was to look up the size of every nut a bolt before hand and write them down next to each illustration.

    Here's a list of everything I used/needed:
    • 3 ton jack & jackstands
    • some big pieces of cardboard to layout and slide around on
    • 1/2" Torque wrench
    • 1/2" & 3/8" ratchets
    • Various ratchet extensions from 3" to 12" in length. Make sure the 12" one is for the 1/2" ratchet
    • a couple of ratchet size adapters for when you have 1/4" 10mm at hand but only a 3/8" ratchet
    • 3/8" cordless power ratchet was nice to have, but didn't really have enough torque for a lot of stuff
    • 1/2" breaker bar
    • 8mm->24mm sockets (in both 3/8 & 1/2)
    • open-end box wrenches in 10mm->22mm
    • a couple of crescent wrenches (just to litter around in case the wrench I needed wasn't at hand)
    • 6mm & 8mm hex keys
    • Cordless drill, I forgot what size drill bit, & cutting oil to drill out the front bottom of the front shock mounts. Look at the bolts before hand.
    • steel file in case you need to clean up your hole
    • I wished I'd had some black touch up paint to clean up the hole, but I'm not too worried
    • trim puller
    • a fine steel pick (for the procal install)
    • a big bright flashlight or work lights that can stand on their own
    • I needed a spring compressor from Advanced Auto to help me because my jack stands weren't high enough
    • Wood or stone blocks if you have short jack stands
    • PB Blaster
    • Brakekleen because you'll likely get your rotors dirty by accident
    • mechanic's gloves. The only time I hurt my hands was when I wasn't wearing them.
    • One of those telescoping magnets to grab nuts and bolts when you drop them
    • blue painters tape
    • sharpie and a paint marker


    So the install instructions say to loosen all the control arm bolts. While nice to do, the general consensus is that 2" isn't enough to make a huge difference on the load on the control arm bushings. I did all 4 rears and the front lowers. It was a huge pain in the ass and in retrospect I totally wish I hadn't bothered.

    Also, I REALLY wish I'd had super-tall jack stands. The standard ones for a car aren't high enough to get the axle to full droop so you'll need the wood or stone blocks to boost them up. I made it work, but I'm definitely buying new ones.

    Hit all your bolts with a lil PB Blaster after you take the tires off and before you start disassembling each end. It'll break any rust and gunk up and make the bolts easier to remove. It sucks to get started, then have to stop and wait if one bolt won't come loose. It'll suck even worse if you don't have some on standby and need it.

    Don't get the springs or the directions they go in mixed up! Tag each one with the blue painters tape and sharpie so you know its location and which end is up. Or come up with your own method, just dont sit there going "fuck! which one is which?" and then have to stop and look at a bunch of pictures online to figure it out later.

    Before you begin replace the front bump stop bolts with longer ones! I cannot stress enough how much time and effort I wasted trying to use the ones that came with the kit. Go ahead and look at the passenger side spring pad on the Dana 35. You've got the trackbar over there so its SO hard to get the nut in there and on the bolt. It sucks and after dropping it 1000 times guess what? It doesn't just fall out, it goes to the other side of the axle by the shock mount so you will need that telescoping magnet (at best) if you drop it. The Evo & Dynatrac kits all come with flagged nut and dear god I wish this one had too.


    The rear install is pretty straightforward. I put the jeep in 4-Hi to have the parking pawl help keep the jeep in place. I think the FAD disconnects when you shut the jeep off though because my passenger wheel rolled but driver didn't. I chocked the front wheels, and when took the rear tires off I put them under the frame just in case I had a jack stand failure. The 2 things you won't know until its too late from the instructions are: a) after the rear bumpstop spacers are on its impossible to re-torque the LCA at the bolt. You need to torque it at the nut but it should be fine. b) insert the 6mm Allen key into the threaded end of the sway bar bolt to prevent it from spinning.

    1m475EbLQsuwi4Fw0Xtfrg.jpg

    Getting the spring back in and indexing it with the new spacer was a pain in the ass. I guess that each model indexes differently or something because you'd think the AEV logos would face out, or the same way but they don't. Because my driveway is crooked a bit, one side contacted the spacer before the other when I jacked it up so that helped. It'll likely take some trial and error or a couple of volunteer hands to help. The spacers are too heavy to try and use double sided tape to hold them, don't bother.




    The front is a bit of another story.

    On disassembly:


    • The pumpkin on the dana 35 is off-center so there isn't a good spot to jack it except on the tube just left of the pumpkin. The Mopar install instructions say to jack it under the front LCA mount on the frame then the axle closest to the wheel on each side, but unless you have 2 jacks that ain't happening. Just go slow and make sure the tube is sitting nice in the jack and you should be OK.
    • Again, the 6mm hex key in the threaded end of the sway bar link will be crucial. The new AEV links use 2 open ended wrenches.
    • The Dana 35 FAD wire is not the same as the Rubicons!! There is a red pull-back locking tab like on the door wiring. It has to pull back about 1cm to be loose. BE CAREFUL! There's a plastic cap on the wire that can come off that protects it. I almost broke mine trying to figure it out. I ended up not being able to get it off (the red tab was caked with dirt and wouldn't move) so I kept an eye on the wire each time I raised and lowered the axle and was OK.
    • BEFORE YOU DROP THE AXLE: Double check your brake line brackets won't catch anything. One of mine went back where it originally was by itself and if I hadn't caught that it would have been bad.
    • Well, the front end had more droop than the rear. My driveways a bit crooked too and I had to put a piece of cardboard under the driver's side brake rotor because it touched the ground. Like I said, a couple of more inches of jack stand would have been nice.


    On reassembly:
    • Remember what I said about the rear spacers being a pain to get in and line up? Same with the fronts.
    • Damn these short jack stands!!!! I needed the spring compressor to get the spring into the perch with the spacer. Then once I jacked the axle back up I couldn't get the compressor back out. Total pain that took a LOT of extra time. Big ass jack stands would have saved me a lot of effort. I wasted a lot of time not only running to Advanced Auto to pick one up, but then figuring out how to use it, getting it in then getting it out. Don't fall into this trap.
    • While we're talking about the front axle, did you replace the front bumpstop bolts like I told you? If not, have fun... Do the bumstop spacers BEFORE you jack the axle back up. The extra room to work will be crucial.
    • The Dana 35 will definitely need the hole in the bottom of the shock mount drilled out. Just be ready & have the cutting oil and a proper bit to drill steel ready. A wood bit won't do the trick. The instructions don't really prepare you for this so it was a whole extra trip to the store for me.
    • You may need help getting the track bar back into the axle side mount. When I did my JK I used a ratchet strap from the frame to the axle to pull it in.
    • Did you loosen the control arms against my advisement above? Well I hope you have a 6 foot tall 225lb Hungarian construction worker for a neighbor like I do. You're not getting the LCAs back up to 190ft/lbs by yourself on your back while you hold another wrench to keep the bolt from spinning. We needed the breaker bar to get it on and close before we finished it with the torque wrench.



    So you're all done??? All you have left is the Procal wire? Well, guess who doesn't know shit about wires, is a bit ham-handed, and had to learn to solder on the fly? Here's my tips for this part:

    • disassemble the glove box and center console like the instructions say.
    • Run the wire the opposite way the instructions say. Plug it into the green start connector in the glovebox then across to the drivers side.
    • DO NOT TURN THE JEEP ON UNTIL THOSE WIRES ARE IN THE CONNECTOR. I did and the 2 connections were touching, you've never seen a Christmas Tree so bright as my dash. Sorry, I forgot to shoot a video because I was panicked I fried my jeep. My wipers were going and I couldn't turn the jeep back off. It was very very very scary and bad.
    • DONT reassemble anything or try to tuck the wire away yet. You're not done.
    • BE GENTILE! Those lil connectors are fragile.
    • There is exactly 1 youtube video of someone having a guy from AEV install it. Go ahead and watch it.
    • Pull out the plastic kick plate where you're door strap goes in for some extra room
    • A flashlight will help
    • You'll need that sharp metal pick to open the wiring harness. Rotate the plug 180 degrees and move the wire to this side for the most slack. Be careful. Here's a pic.
      %FalD6j9SJani2D8bg1+RA.jpg
    • Those metal connectors should go in easily with no effort. If thy don't, then rotate them 90 degrees and try again. The entire metal connector, all 1" of it, until all you see is rubber goes into the housing. Start with #9, that one was easier and I could figure out which direction the lil "ears" went into the connector.
    • Did you break the damn connector? Here's the painters tape rig I made to solder it back together. Also, you can see the lil "ears" that prevent you from putting the plug into the connector the wrong way.
      RenderedImage.jpg
    • Don't forget you rotated the connector to get more slack. When you put it back in the AEV wires will be on the LEFT side of the plug.
    • Make sure you hear a tiny audible click on both sides when you close the wiring harness, or its not closed
    • With the OBDII wire back in the metal clip and shit still all over the place, put the jeep in RUN (2 clicks or button pushes but engine not on) and plug the snap in.
    • No light on it? Your #1 wire isn't in all the way or some this else is very wrong. Call AEV now.
    • Is it slowly pulsing orange? Your #9 wire isn't in all the way. Turn off the jeep, gently press and hold the left side of the snap to make sure its seated on the side their wires are and try again.
    • Either way remove and reopen the connector. You should see the connectors under the lock tab in there and can use the pick to pull them a bit more. Close it up and try again.
    • Is it green? REALLY GREEEN!!! Program your tire size and you're good to go!!!!!

  2. #2
    Knows a Thing or Two CanadaJeep's Avatar
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    So glad you posted this up as well. I was having a hard time with the snap attaching to the obd2 and the photo you posted is what I was looking for. Thanks scoobycarolanNC think you helped me again, ( I just posted on your other thread then seen this one)
    Last edited by CanadaJeep; 08-27-2019 at 09:35 AM.
    SCOTT *lllllll*
    2018 STING GRAY JL SPORT
    2" AEV spacer lift and 35 x 12.5

  3. #3
    Been Around the Block scoobycarolanNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJeep View Post
    So glad you posted this up as well. I was having a hard time with the snap attaching to the obd2 and the photo you posted is what I was looking for. Thanks scoobycarolanNC think you helped me again, ( I just posted on your other thread then seen this one)
    Did everything work out?

  4. #4
    Knows a Thing or Two CanadaJeep's Avatar
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    Yes it all worked out. I was just nervous and didn't want to force it and have it break. I took a whole 5 mins after I seen video on how it opened.
    I didn't remove the brackets on the center console. No need to there is space you can slide the wire right under.
    SCOTT *lllllll*
    2018 STING GRAY JL SPORT
    2" AEV spacer lift and 35 x 12.5

  5. #5
    Been Around the Block scoobycarolanNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJeep View Post
    Yes it all worked out. I was just nervous and didn't want to force it and have it break. I took a whole 5 mins after I seen video on how it opened.
    I didn't remove the brackets on the center console. No need to there is space you can slide the wire right under.
    Lol I said right in there “there’s exactly 1 video on YouTube, watch it”. All good nice work!

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